Monday, May 31, 2010

May 2010 video player

South Riverside Park - Waverly, IA

I picked South Riverside Park today because I thought there would be a nice trail for Emily to ride her bike.  What I didn't know was that the 6 blocks that the park covers along the west side of the Cedar River just south of Bremer Avenue was the exact parade route for the Memorial Day parade. We utilized the trail and also enjoyed the nice, new playground equipment.  There is a nice shelter house and a fun bench swing with beautiful views of the river bend.  The nice part is that it's also within reasonable walking distance just a straight-shot 8 blocks from our house.

View Waverly Parks in a larger map

Memorial Day weekend

We had a quiet Memorial Day weekend at home.  It was pretty hot on Saturday and Sunday but absolutely gorgeous on Monday.  Here are some of the things we did:

The kids "pushing" each other outside.
"Helping" Daddy wash & wax the van and truck. 
On Monday morning I decided to take the kids to a park.  I wasn't aware of what the city of Waverly had as far as Memorial Day celebrations, but by shear luck we drove right to the parade route 5 minutes before the parade began.  It was short  (the standard legion, auxiliary, HS marching band, boy scouts, girl scouts), but impressive.  This is how Emily watched the band go by. ;o)  And no, they did NOT throw candy.

Then we followed everyone to the cemetery where we listened to the band play the national anthem and a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace". When the band headed for the buses we headed back to the park (see next post). They had more of a program, but the kids were antsy and we weren't close enough to hear the speakers anyway.

After a yummy BBQ meal on the grill, Emily & I played some rousing games of Candy Land out on the picnic table.  For the record, I did win all three times, but only because of lucky picture card draws.  Thankfully, Emily doesn't really care about winning or losing; she just likes to play.  She's getting a lot better at following the rules, but three games is usually enough for my patience level. ;o)

After Lincoln woke up from his nap we set up a "car wash" on the sidewalk and driveway.  Emily also had fun catching water in various size containers while Lincoln just pushed toys around.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

43 months old

Another month of growth and development for Emily!  One of Emily's big things this month has been made-up words.  She just randomly comes up with things sometimes, even if she clearly knows the correct term/name.  The words usually come and go, but she has had longer-lasting terminology, too.  For instance, she loves "squatting" the hose (i.e. spraying it).  Lots of things also "whoosh" for all sorts of reasons. 

Although Emily has not yet gone through the "why" stage, she constantly asks, "What's that?"  She has also started pointing out rational irregularities in books and on TV.  For instance, "Chickens don't wear hats."  "Rainbows don't have faces."  "Bears don't drive cars."  This makes reading books a laborious chore sometimes.  We rarely actually read the words.  I am glad, however, that Emily has finally started choosing library books other than Berenstain Bears. :o)

I can't decide if Emily has an imaginary friend or if she's just naming stuffed animals, but whenever she's pretending her companion is usually named Allison.  Once in awhile she mentions other kids she has recently played with. but it's mostly Allison.  In this picture Emily & "Allison" (a.k.a. George) are doing their "homework".  They were drawing birthday cakes and people which eerily resembled the machines from the Matrix.  Notice that "Allison" had to have an extra book to sit on to see over the table. ;o)

In other art department news Emily is big into solid coloring.  Any papers she gets from Sunday School or storytime at the library end up with everything colored the same color and all filled in.  She does pretty good about generally staying in the lines.  She's getting pretty good at cutting on lines, too.  However, some perfectionistic firstborn traits are starting to shine through.  If it's not "right" or "perfect" in her mind than she gets upset and it often gets trashed.  She loves writing her name--especially on papers and on the cement with sidewalk chalk.  As was the case with the picture posted last month, all the letters are there, you just have to use a bit of imagination and turn around a couple times to find them.

Emily has also made big strides in riding her bike.  She has figured out how to brake and stop at every intersection and alley to look for cars.  Yesterday we went to the castle park and back.  On the way home she got stopped by a Waverly police officer and received a coupon for a free ice cream treat at DQ for being safe and wearing a helmet.

One sort of sad thing this month has been Emily mentioning every few days that, "I don't like my new house.  I want my old house."  With further probing it usually comes down to the fact that her old house had a dog.  I guess she remembers more about Cheney than I thought.  She also still points out the "doggie hotel" (i.e. the vet clinic/boarding place) on the way out of town and sometimes says, "Cheney is in the basement."  This gives me a twinge of guilt and sadness, but life is so much less stressful without a dog right now.  So Emily is just going to have to wait.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

BFF Birthday Party

As much as I dislike the term, BFF ("best friend forever" for those who need clarification) is probably the best description for this post.  One of my dear friends and roommates from college celebrated her birthday yesterday.  My other dear friend (since 7th grade) and roommate from college organized a big get-together at Chips in Ankeny to celebrate.  Even though it was a bit of a drive, I was super excited to have a girls night out.  It was great to catch up with both of them since we only see each other a couple times a year at most and not since Christmas.  Angie & Sarah are truly BFF's because no matter how long it has been, we can pick up right where we left off and talk for hours. :o)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Food hair

We may have to rethink Lincoln's hairstyle now that he has started experimenting on his own at mealtimes...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Humidity hate list

"It's not the heat, it's the humidity."  I don't outright hate many things in life, but the heat/humidity combo is one of them.  It's ironic that in the winter I desperately try to raise the humidity level in the house while in the summer I try just as hard to lower it.  Anyway, here's a list of reasons why I hate high humidity in the summer...
  • Frizzy hair
  • Sticky vinyl or slippery tile floors (this was a huge problem on the ceramic tile in our Denver house)
  • All the open packages of crackers/cookies/cereal turning chewy, mushy gross
  • Having to keep the bread and all other baked goods in the fridge to keep from going bad right away
  • The yucky feeling of being sweaty as soon as you step out of the shower
  • Sweating just by virtue of moving
  • Perpetuating the growing mold explosion in the bathroom
  • Uncomfortable sleeping conditions
  • And the #1 reason--it just plain makes me cranky, which makes everyone else cranky because I've discovered the truth in the saying, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Picnic table

Last weekend Austin's parents brought up their old picnic table for us to use on our deck.  This table has been well-loved and well-used.  It actually served as the kitchen table for 4 years while Austin was growing up.  In the last week we have already used it a lot, too.  This is our family pizza picnic on Sunday night (it was too hot to even stick a frozen pizza in the oven).  Emily has had numerous snacks seated at it, and I know there will be many more fun projects done on it. :o)

Heat Wave!

Sunday marked the beginning of the first big heat/humidity wave of the season.  I hate hot & humid weather.  Austin loves it.  We all cope.  Our new house does not have central air conditioning.  It does have a big, old, clunky wall unit in the living room, lots of shade trees and a ceiling fan in every room.  We're looking into putting in central air, but it's not quite in the budget yet.  In the meantime, Austin got a small window air conditioner for Emily's room upstairs on Saturday.  Emily thought it was pretty cool being able to stick her hand out the window and wanted to "help" screw in everything.

On Sunday afternoon we broke out the little blow-up pool I had purchased 2 1/2 years ago on clearance at Wal-mart.  As you may or may not recall, Emily refused to put on a swimming suit all last summer and never set foot in any kind of a pool.  This year she was eager to put on her new suit, although we did have to explain that you don't have to wear underwear. ;o)  It's actually at least one size too big, but that doesn't matter as much at this stage.

Lincoln was happy in his trunks and swim shirt, too.  I had originally purchased an 18 mo. set for him.  When he wasn't growing as fast as I had expected I got him a pair of 12 mo. trunks at a consignment shop in Rock Valley.  The 18 mo. shirt is nice and loose and his swim diaper barely even holds up the 12 mo. trunks.  He's a gangsta swimmer. :o)

Pacific Outdoors 17-LC130 La Chaise Folding Recliner
Both kids loved putzing in the pool for a good chunk of the afternoon while Austin & I relaxed in the lounger chairs (best deck chairs ever!).  However, I think we may need to look into the possibility of purchasing a second, bigger pool.  Both of them playing nicely together in a space smaller than the bathtub with all those plastic and blow-up toys is not going to last very long.
Here are some more picture highlights of the pool.  There are also some videos in the video player.

Today we got out the pool again but also got out the hose.  At first I attached the little ladybug sprinkler to the end.  That entertained Emily for quite awhile.  Then I changed it back to the regular nozzle head on the "shower" setting so it wouldn't be a constant flow.  That was even more exciting.  Emily spent over 4 hours outside this afternoon discovering all sorts of fun things you can do with hose from filling up various containers to making mud puddles to creating rainbows with mist.  She even figured out how to make a better sprinkler by propping up the nozzle in the grass in various places (see video).  All I can say is that our backyard, and especially the trees, are going to be well watered.  Some people may call it a waste of water.  I call it a cheap babysitter!  Besides, I know that's exactly I spent many afternoons growing up and it's one of my fond childhood memories. :o)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Speedy helmet

Emily finally gave in and agreed to put on her bike helmet.  As promised, I let her decorate it with flower stickers when she did.  Now she is in love with it and her bike.  She rode it quite a bit today.  She even fell off 4 times and got right back on each time.  We still have some work to do with braking, but she can "go fast in my helmet!" 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

12 month portraits

We made it to JCPenney for Lincoln's 12-month portraits.  Lincoln's nap schedule was all messed up today, and I ended up having to wake him up to make it to our appointment, so he didn't always smile as big as I know he can.  However, we still got some cute shots.  Below are some of my favorites plus some collages they put together.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dandelion puff

12 month comps

Just for fun a comparison at 12 months...

1 year old!

It's hard to believe our sweet little Lincoln turned one today!  His current measurements are 19 lbs. 8 oz (8th percentile) and 29.75 inches (51st percentile). He still only has two teeth on the bottom despite my claims that he is teething and swearing that the top two teeth are just about ready to poke through--for the last two months.  But don't let his stature and shortage of teeth fool you.  He can still out-eat Emily on occasion.  Just today at lunch he consumed a large piece of pepperoni pizza, a single-serve container of fruit cocktail, a scoop of fresh steamed green beans and half a piece of birthday cake washed down with a sippy cup of whole milk.  Everything was cut up in small pieces, of course, but almost everything makes it into his mouth these days with little spillage into his pocket bib.

Lincoln is so close to walking.  With a lot of cajoling he took 3-4 half-size shuffle steps on the deck yesterday.  Otherwise he usually just sits down and starts crawling.  There is a video in the video player with our attempts.  He is also so close to talking.  I'm not completely ready to declare his first words yet, but he often says "Mum-mum-mum" and "Dah".  It's getting closer to meaning mom & dad.

Right now Lincoln is in the middle of the "dumping" stage--as in his sippy cup off his high chair tray and toys out of the bathtub.  He loves the "game" if someone keeps picking things up.  Simultaneously, he is also very much into experimenting with picking up and putting objects inside things--like blocks in a bucket or bath toys in a cup.

Lincoln is definitely not as into reading books as Emily was/is.  He usually doesn't sit still for more than half of one before he's trying to crawl off your lap and get at something else.  He is, however, more and more into pushing wheeled objects around.  He also loves playing with the Incrediblock and digging in the sandbox, although he's no longer satisfied with just standing/squatting around the outside.  He spends a lot of his time climbing in and out again. :o)

We love our little boy and wish him a very Happy 1st Birthday!

Monday, May 17, 2010

First Home Park - Waverly, IA

We were supposed to get Lincoln's one-year portraits done at JCPenney this afternoon, but 3 hours before our appointment he fell and conked his head and sported a nice purple bruise in the middle of his forehead.  So I rescheduled for later in the week.  Since it was such a beautiful day, I decided to take the kids to a park.  Today we went to First Home Park in Waverly.  We have been there before because it is located just on the other side of the hospital and is within easy walking distance of our house.

I'm not sure of the origin of the name, but First Home is a small neighborhood park close to the high school.  The play equipment is new and designed for ages 5-12.  Emily still likes climbing the rock steps and going down the slides.  She likes the "dinosaur bones", too.  Lincoln likes spinning the barrel and going down the slide with Mommy.  There are some swings and a basketball hoop, too.  There must be quite a few elementary-aged kids in the neighborhood because they are usually congregated there.  It was a bit confusing today because there apparently was another Emily and another Megan among them!

View Waverly Parks in a larger map

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lincoln's 1st Birthday Party

We had Lincoln's 1st birthday party today.  All the grandparents joined us for church and lunch.  After giving Lincoln a chance to take a bit of an afternoon nap we did presents and cake.  Here are the highlights in pictures and captions...
Lincoln with his proud grandparents
Dave & Cheryl Lorenzen                                 Terry & Bette Boote

Lincoln opening presents

If you want to laugh out loud, check out the video in the May video player at the bottom of the blog and listen for Emily's "helpful hints" on the fine art of unwrapping gifts.  She actually did surprisingly well at keeping her hands off.  It would have taken Lincoln all afternoon to unwrap things, so she eventually got to help.

Helping Daddy put together the Little People Racin' Ramps Garage

Fisher-Price Little People Racin' Ramps Garage

Books & Toys

The beautiful cross-stitch picture for his room made by Grandma Lorenzen

Lincoln's cake (nothing super fancy)

Both of my kids have disappointed me in the "messy cake face" department.  At least Lincoln touched his cake.  He actually just enjoyed pounding it with a spoon.

He never actually tasted any of it.  I cut some up to try and encourage him.

But he settled for just apple juice.  Oh well.

A new tradition: the birthday crown

I found this at Factory Card & Party Outlet (a.k.a. "The Birthday Party Store") and thought it would be a fun tradition for the birthday kid to wear.  Emily has been begging to wear it all the time.